Recent Developments in European Migration


Written by Richard Hokenson 

There have been two significant developments in European migration and mobility:

  • A Substantial Reduction in Migrant and Refugee Arrivals.  The International Organization for Migration reported that 29,369 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through April 2 of this year versus 172,089 for the same period of time in 2016.  The very substantial decline in arrivals implies further easing in the tensions related to accommodating immigrants from outside the EU.  Although there have been recent tensions between the EU and Turkey, we consider it highly unlikely that Turkey will renege on its promise to stem the flow of refugees.  We are more concerned about Hungary’s retreat from tolerance led by the conservative nationalist Victor Orban.  

  • The number of workers in the U.K. from other European Union nations fell the most in five years in the fourth quarter.  The Office of National Statistics reported that the number of EU-born workers declined by 50,000 to 2.3 million.  This is a dramatic shift as the total of EU workers had increased by almost 190,000 in the past year and has more than doubled in the past decade.  This news came days after a report issued by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development that revealed that companies are worried about a labor shortage, specifically that skill shortages are already apparent in sectors which employ a high number of EU nationals.  It is quite likely that it was mainly Polish workers who emigrated as they are the group that has received the bulk of the hostility directed at EU nationals.  They are also the largest group of EU nationals residing in the U.K.  This is further evidence that Brexit has a noticeable impact on the attractiveness of the U.K. as a place to live and work.  The situation is apt to get much worse because the U.K. government is refusing to guarantee full residency for EU nationals without a reciprocal agreement for Britons living in other EU countries.


This update was researched and written by Richard Hokenson, as of April 6 2017